Easier said than done

Romans 15:13: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We are supposed to trust in God in everything and then be filled by the power of the Holy Spirit.  This is easier said than done. If you are like me, you fail. The Evil One is constantly trying to whisper to us that we are not worthy.  Nothing could be further from the truth. God says we are worthy.  He sent his son to die for us.  Jesus would not have gone to the cross to save us if we were worthless.

So many of us, myself included, are good at looking as if nothing is wrong, even when we feel as if we are falling apart.  (allowing the evil one to trick us into thinking “worthless”)

My weakness is I am very insecure. There are days, when I look completely confident.  Thanks to a dear friend, I have learned how to look put together.  The harder I work to look put together, the less secure I actually feel.  (allowing the evil one to trick me into thinking “worthless”)

If you see me in jeans and one of my husband’s shirts, that day when I look a mess, those days , I feel confident.  There is no need to try to look confident that is how I feel.  Or at least that is how I start out.   (allowing the evil one to trick me into thinking “worthless”)

Then someone looks at me as if I am crazy, or someone treats me poorly.  Then all those insecurities just rush into my head.  Those days, I wish I was more put together. That I looked more confident, because I don’t want people to see how I feel. I want people to look at me and think she has got it all together (if they only knew). I need to remember Jesus says I am not.

As a result, I find myself ever thankful to that friend who taught me how to look put together.  I put forth the effort. Because I am not worthless, Jesus died for me. I want to show the world, Jesus says I am wonderful.  Jesus says we are wonderful.

The truth is I am forgetting that God really doesn’t care if I am “put together”. He says I am His creation: beautiful.

I am forgetting that God gave me the gift of the ability to think on my feet.

I am forgetting that God has sent the Holy Spirit to guide and direct me.

I am forgetting that if I depend on God, I can be confident, I can hold my head high; people don’t see all my sins from years gone by.  (I just like to think they do.)

But most of all I am forgetting that most people are just like me insecure afraid. Yet we do not have to be because Jesus sent the advocate to guide us.  When we depend on him, we don’t need to be afraid, insecure.

 

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Comfort in Jesus is like Friendship bread

What do you find comforting?  A bowl of mac-n-cheese, a special robe, a certain movie, a hug from a loved one, a puppy dog lick, a special chair, or some other thing?

Me, a cup of coffee, my favorite robe, and a typewriter. Those are comforting.  I can tell that blank page all my fears, anxiety, pain and then when I am done, I can delete the whole thing; or share it with you.

That type of comfort is fleeting.  It lasts for as long as we are involved in that activity maybe just a bit longer.  Once that bowl of mac-n-cheese is gone, it is like NOW WHAT??

True Comfort comes from God. 

When we turn to Jesus that comfort lasts all day.  Actually it is always there, but we have to feed it through prayer and reading the word.

The best way to feed it, is to share it.

When we share Jesus with others it is like we are making a batch of sour dough.  If you have ever made any type of friendship bread, this analogy is  self-explanatory.  This is for those that haven’t.

Sourdough works like this.  You start with the starter recipe. (Salvation) You place it in a glass jar like a mason jar.  (you are the glass jar) Then you feed it. ( you feed it by hearing or reading God’s word) You feed it by adding more ingredients  Before you know it your jar is overflowing.  Right before the sourdough or

friendship bread is ready to overflow, you put some of the mix into another jar  and share it with someone.  (sharing Jesus)

The other fun thing you do with the mix is bake it into bread or a cake (the recipe comes with the instructions on starting the sourdough or friendship bread.)  When you bake the cake or bread, most people don’t sit down and eat it all by themselves, they share the cake or bread with others. 

When you were introduced to Jesus, someone should have shared with you things that you can do to share Jesus.

As we share this delicious comforting food, our comfort grows.  Just like when we share Jesus, our permanent comfort grows within us.  The more we share, the more comfort we feel.  It is like that song we sang as a kid.

My little light will shine, let it shine, let it shine. Put it under a bushel, NO.  (a bushel basket)

2 Corinthians 1:3-7:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

Who cares about your physical color, What color is your soul?

1 Peter 2:9 NIV:  On those days when you feel as if no one is listening, no one cares remember:  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

I can hear some of the objections, an unseen entity thinks I am Holy, why?  Because he created you and chose you to be His child.  He does not care about your emotional scars or your physical scars.  He does not care if you are in jail or have been in jail. He does not care about any of your groups. He does not care about the color of your skin. He doesn’t even care if you are in a wheelchair.  God sees you as His creation Beautiful. Once you accept Jesus as your personal savior; you become His and Holy

 

You have value

There are times when we feel useless and unworthy. These are just whispers of the Devil. If we allow these thoughts to percolate, they will turn into an ugly black mood.  There are so many things that can cause us to feel this way.  recently I found myself feeling that way.  There are people working on my roof.  The damage is worse than we thought. It is awful, we are not paying that much and try as we might we were unable to get many volunteers. Only my husband’s nephew, my husband, son, the contractor, his stepfather, his cousin, wife, and their two young sons.  Our house is 1820 square feet and the roof is about 2500 square feet including the attached two and 1/2 car garage. It is a large roof. If it were a roof without damage, and everything was perfect, maybe that many people could have done it in a weekend. I have a couple of things against me climbing up on a roof. On a good day, I walk wobbly. Ever heard of a weeble? People that know me say “weebles wobble but they don’t fall down”. It is not as mean as it sounds, because I know they are just teasing me. Here I am on my third run to buy more materials and boom I go down hard. It would have been harder but my husband caught me. What can I do but put on my braces and go to the store. When we returned from the store, I collapse emotionally.  All these people are working so hard to fix my roof. My nephew went home early. But there is so much work to do and did I tell you we are not paying them that much. I am overwhelmed by what must be done and how enthusiastic they are that “It is going to be done right, no leaks a great roof”. I am sure it will be but so frustrated that I can’t help. Besides being wobbly, I take medications that don’t respond well to sunlight.  Less than ½ hour out in the sun makes one of my medications useless. What I failed to realize that is what many of us fail to realize is that just because we are not doing the hard-physical work, our work has value.  For example, I was a gopher, a cheerleader (don’t tell me) a place for the kids to go when they needed a break. A water provider, a meal provider.    Paper pushers have importance.  Without the paper pushers, the computer operators, the telephone receptionists, etc.; these people take care of the tedious work. The work other people hate to do.  It is necessary and it is as needed as the barista.  Yes, I am not afraid to admit, Coffee is in the need column. If you don’t believe it, ask my family what happens if I must get up at O’dark thirty, and the coffee isn’t finished brewing.  Or worse, the pot, the one that worked yesterday has stopped working.  What I really need more is my time with my cup of coffee and my Bible.  Lately, life has been hectic and I have been missing it.   For whatever reason, I haven’t found the time. I try having that time some other time, but there is interference. It seems the harder I try to cut through the interference, the more strife there is.  Satan is working overtime to keep me away from that time with God.  That is how he works.  The computer is acting up, at the dentist’s office things go terribly wrong, procedure done but completion not scheduled for almost 4 months. Oh, and then there is the double billing (billing for the same procedure twice).  The roof is such a mess that it is taking longer than expected.  There is time out for job interviews, and of course groceries must be bought.  Which means I am struggling with self-worth issues, and the frustration of not seeming to be able to take out that time with God.  I forgot to mention the pets are not responding well to all the noise.  My little dog, wants my attention constantly.  She does not want me to write or balance the checkbook, or fix a meal; she wants me to hold her constantly.  I can read the Bible and hold her, do it all the time. My problem is that spending time with God requires a quiet mind.  With all these things happening, it is hard to quiet my mind.  At this point it seems as if Satan is winning.  But he won’t God won’t let him, I am one of God’s chosen. That doesn’t mean that I do not have work to do, I must push everything aside and pray.  I need to listen to God. Hear his voice. But once I start taking that time to listen, telling the evil one he is not going to win; Jesus is right there pushing the evil one out-of-the-way.  The more practice I have the quicker the evil one goes.  It really takes work. It takes practice.  Yet when you think about very few people can just jump In and be experts at the stop.  Oh, sure there are those that just pick up everything and are good at everything.  Most people must work and work at everything they learn.  Do you think Big Ben could run through a line without practice?  Terry Bradshaw wasn’t born knowing how to be one of the greatest quarterbacks that ever lived.  He claims Phil was (Duck Dynasty Phil) but look how that turned out.  The one that had to work and work was the historic QB. The big question is, how much do you want to have a relationship with the savior?  To be good, it will require work.

There is another way to put it, think about your closest relationship, does it just happen or does it take work?  Occasionally, we hear about relationships that “just happen”. Those are rare. Even those we just click relationships would not happen if we didn’t make time for them.  A relationship with God is not any different.  Sure, he knows us, can hear us, but we don’t know him, unless we chose to know God.  Spending time God is an effort.   Those “unworthy, useless feelings, when we pay attention to our relationship with God, they fade.  Why? because when your relationship with God is strong, it is harder for the Devil to get even his pinky toe into your thoughts. His little lies are obvious and weak.

 

 

Where do I fit?

confusedIn John chapters 14 and 15, Jesus is saying goodbye to His disciples. Chapter 15, starting with verse 18 continuing to verse 25, Jesus warns the disciple that they will be despised. As followers of Christ, we are often despised. We do not belong to this world. Yet we must live in this world.  We are supposed to share the love of Jesus with the world. Yet as human beings, we want to belong. You do belong to the Body of Christ.  In your church, in your small groups, this is where you develop friendships with likeminded people. Where you learn to walk with Christ. Where you receive support. Some are fortunate enough to be able to have employment in Christian environments. Most do not and it can be lonely. Loneliness leads to depression. For this reason, I urge you to join a small group Bible study.

Sometimes chaos wins but that it not the war

There are so many books written about how to hear the voice of God.  But not much is written concerning attacks from the evil one.  No the evil one is not omnipresent, he does however, have many minions.  They roam the world seeking to exploit our weaknesses our insecurities. Are they constantly attacking anyone person? No, do they sit there waiting for God’s people to make mistakes just waiting to pounce on every weakness?  Do the sit there knocking over glasses of milk? No probably not, but I wouldn’t put it past them.  Are they responsible for all the evil in the world? Yes, absolutely. Do they target certain individuals and ignore others? Some days you might think you have been a target of some evil entity’s attention.  Perhaps you were. What is important to remember if you have been caught in their cross hairs, is it feels like chaos. God brings peace, Satan and his minions chaos. So maybe when the baby knocks over the glass of milk, maybe the evil one is at work. How do you fight it?  You call on Jesus’ name and tell that evil one to get out.  The catch? you might have to frequently repeat this. You might have to chase the evil one away more than once a day.  It is not something that gets easier the more you read the Bible, the more you pray.  Actually the more you do these things the harder the evil one will try to stop you. Why bother?  Because a relationship with God brings peace. Yes sometimes Satan will step in and you will allow him to steal your peace. But that does not mean that you give up? No you don’t give up.  What you do is let it go forget the failure, ask forgiveness and start a new day.  So what it that stinker won a tiny battle?  The allied forces didn’t win every battle and neither will you. During WWII there were times when it looked as if the bad guys would win. But did that stop us? NO Get up, put on your big person panties and tell satan not today.

Can I really feel peace and joy every day?

Hebrews 12: 22-24:  To those of you like me, suffer from periodic periods of feeling down, hopeless; we need to remember this:  We have come to Mount Zion. We are children of the King.  Through Jesus we can tap into complete joy and peace. I know all this with my head, getting it to my heart is another matter. Perhaps it is the other way around, my heart knows, but my brain is stubborn. I think that is it we are hard-headed people.  So how do you get out of the vicious cycle?  I suggest the power of positive thinking.  It seems to be working. The feelings of depression are much further apart.  Here is how it works. Every morning when you wake up, tell yourself I am going to remember I am a child of God through Jesus’ sacrifice. At first, I had to tell myself twenty, thirty times a day. But the more I did it the more it sunk into my hard head. I challenge you to try it!  It takes less than 10 seconds to stop and say I am a child of God. What a wonderful feeling. Now Go!!!

 22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Keep fighting back (Christmas depression part 4) you are worthy

There are a couple of things that you need to know. First of all I firmly do not believe that Depression is a feeling, it is a state of mind.  It is not a choice. There is however, a choice involved. The choice to fight back.  In my opinion, depression comes from the Evil one. It is clearly not from God. Job 34: 12: 12 It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice. Fight back with the thoughts that God does not want us to be timid.  2 Timothy 1: 7: For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power,love and self-discipline.

In my experience, depression is the lies of the evil one telling us we are unworthy, we can’t it makes me afraid. Afraid to go out of the house, afraid to do anything at all. It makes me afraid to be with my husband. It makes me afraid to make a choice. He focuses on whatever has just happened and brings back things from our past to support it. For me that is a lot.  From neglect as a child and teenager, to physical abuse as an adult; from having a period of homelessness as a teenager, to desperately wanting my family miles away to help me get out of a severely abusive almost to where I took my life to get away-relationship. The evil one will pull things out, throw them at me and use them to prove to me that I am unworthy.  THESE ARE LIES.  ME, YOU, WE are worthy to feel Joy, WE are worthy to feel COURAGEOUS. WE are worthy to feel happiness. WE ARE WORTHY OF THE PEACE BROUGHT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.  WE are WORTHY because we are children of God. Oh and the important part:

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING THAT YOU CAN DO TO EARN THIS WORTHINESS. IT IS A GIFT FREE FROM GOD. 

Let me repeat that, it is a free gift from God.  Ephesians 2: 8-9: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  All you have to do is trust in the Lord.  It is not always easy but God will give you the strength.  Isaiah 40: 28-29: 28 Do you not know?  Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary  and increases the power of the weak. When we listen to the Lies of Satan, the ones that tell us we are unworthy, we become weak, it is in our weakness that depression sets.  However, when we trust in the Lord, when we put on the Armor Of God, we become strong in our Spirit and we soar like EAGLES.  You can find information about the Armor of God in Ephesians 6: 10-18.  Sometimes the battle is daily.  But you can not stop fighting, your fight is easy.  All you have to do is put your trust daily in the creator of all things, GOD.  He will give you strength. He is your shield  Matthew 11:28-30: 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Jesus took our burdens upon him when he died on the cross.  This is why we are celebrating Christmas, because Jesus came to earth Born as a baby. This is why we can overcome depression, sometimes a daily fight. Remember it is the Evil one who is telling you that you are unworthy.  It is God telling you YOU ARE SO VERY WORTHY. Celebrate His Birth with your whole heart, because that it what it means to Love the Lord your God with all your heart. It means that you do not have to listen to those lies. It means you have the power to trust God, it means that through the grace of Jesus you have overcome even death (Spiritual) There is still a physical death. and everything Satan is telling you is a LIE!.  

Accepting Joy (Christmas Depression part 3)

The thing about Depression is you do not want to be happy.  Let’s face it, when you are depressed, you have an excuse to not participate in life. Accepting Joy is Living Life. Making every moment count. When you feel down, it is hard to want to do anything. I am not trying to say that it is that easy to pull yourself out of depression.  Here is the thing, you do not have to get out of your depression by yourself.  God has inexplicable joy waiting for you. I am not talking about people who have a medical diagnosis for depression, there is a chemical imbalance in the brain, or some medical reason for your depression cycles .  I am talking about that feeling of sadness that is really listening to the lies of the evil one. The sadness that tries to make you think you are alone and that things won’t get better. It does not have a medical cause, there are not any short wires in your brain, it is just circumstances are not the best and you do not see the end. You feel hopeless.  It does not matter why you are feeling down, What you don’t want to do is to give into the lies of the devil.  You have to allow yourself to feel joy.  You deserve to feel joy. God wants to feel his joy.  It does not mean the situation is any better, it just means you are accepting the peace and Joy that only God can give.  The evil one will tell you that you don’t deserve to be happy.  Let us explore some Bible verses that proves this statement to be false.  These verses can be helpful tools when Satan attacks and tries to keep you in the dark place.

Nehemiah 8:10: 10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Job 33:26: 26 then that person can pray to God and find favor with him, they will see God’s face and shout for joy; he will restore them to full well-being.

Psalm 51:12: 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation  and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

John 16:20: 20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.

Romans 15:13: 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

If that fails me, if reading the scriptures does not help.  I turn to the Psalms.  As one reads Psalms, one realizes that David, the author of many of the Psalms; also suffered with periodic Blues” .  If the King David, the one who was Jesus’ ancestor can have periodic feelings of sadness, then I am not abnormal!

While I am not a doctor, I know that for many this sad feeling that comes especially around this time of year, is normal. It is also caused by listening to the lies of the evil one. He wants us to feel bad.  He does not want us to feel the Joy of the Lord. He does not want us to live in the peace that God gives.  He wants us to think our situation is unique when it is not.  YOU ARE NOT THE FIRST PERSON TO GO THROUGH THE PAINS AND TROUBLES THAT YOU ARE EXPERIENCING AND YOU WILL NOT BE THE LAST. 

Once you except that truth, then you can feel Joy, Hope and Peace.  The problem still exists, but you know that God is there, He has a solution and He will see you through.

GOD WILL SEE YOU THROUGH. HE HAS A SOLUTION. TRUST IN THE ONE TRUE KING. CELEBRATE, ALLOW YOURSELF TO LIVE.   And believe me, I know exactly how hard it can be to allow yourself to LiVE. I know how hard it is to believe you deserve JOY, PEACE, and Happiness. Not only do you deserve it, it is okay to show it.  The world does not expect you to look sad.  The Christian world rejoices with you.  Problem still there, but I am trusting God.

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